Safaris are extremely informal vacations and the main goal is to pack lightly and smartly. Most lodges and camps will launder your clothes for free or a small fee ($2 - $3 per item) within 24-hours. Loose fitting, casual and comfortable clothing is recommended, as you will be spending the majority of your safari wildlife viewing in a vehicle. Be prepared for daily highs ranging from the mid 70’s to the mid 80’s and lows in the 50’s and 60’s except during the cold season (June, July and August) when the lows can drop down into the 40’s. The rim of the Ngorongoro Crater can get significantly colder during the night and early mornings due to the high elevation (7,500 – 8,000 feet).
There is little or no opportunity for fashion while on safari though you may wish to bring a nice outfit for a special dinner. All the lodges allow casual clothing and traditional safari wear while dining. There is a large temperature range each day and it is recommended to wear layers enabling you to adjust to the varying temperatures. It can be quite cold on early morning game drives and long pants and a warm sweater are needed. In contrast, shorts and t-shirts can be worn on afternoon game drives as it can get hot during midday especially with the strong equatorial sun shining down in a convertible vehicle. It is important that you wear a wide brimmed hat and apply sun block frequently to all exposed areas.
Dark colors do tend to attract unwanted attention from certain insects. The tsetse fly (active only during the day) is attracted to dark colors (primarily dark blue) so these should be avoided when game driving tsetse areas including the woodlands of the West Serengeti, Tarangire and a few parts of the North Serengeti. The plains of the south and east Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and the southern areas of the Central Serengeti are tsetse fly free. It is recommended to wear long pants and shirts when game driving an area known for concentrations of tsetse flies. Lighter and more natural colors such as khaki, brown, beige, olive and green should be worn during the day. During the nights, the color of your clothing is irrelevant. From dusk to dawn, it is recommended that you protect yourself from mosquitoes by wearing pants, long sleeved shirts, socks and shoes plus insect repellant.
Please see below for a recommended African safari packing list:
- One pair of comfortable walking shoes (i.e. sneakers, cross training or light hiking shoes)
- One pair of sandals or flip-flops
- Casual, comfortable and loose fitting clothing in khaki, brown, beige, green and olive colors made of natural fabrics such as cotton
- T-shirts and light tops
- Long-sleeved shirts/blouses
- Light long pants or convertible long-short pants
- One warm fleece or sweater
- One Swimsuit
- Cotton socks and underwear
- Hat and bandana
- Heavy sweater, warm gloves, knit hat and scarf for the cold season (June – August)
- Optional: lightweight jacket or windbreaker
- Passport, plane tickets, safari itinerary and emergency contact document
- U.S. dollars in large and small denominations and credit cards
- Small flashlight
- Sunscreen and lip balm
- Insect repellant
- Contact lens solution, spare glasses and extra contact lenses,if applicable
- Waterless anti-bacterial gel, hand wipes and Kleenex
- Camera, plenty of film, extra batteries and charger, if applicable
- UK plug adapter and transformer/voltage converter, if applicable
- Small battery operated alarm clock or watch
- Playing cards, small games and reading material (see safari reading list)
- Journal or notebook for recording daily observations and pens
- Snacks – nutrition bars, nuts, candy, etc.
- Zip lock bags for toiletries, camera equipment, snacks, etc. and small trash bags
- Personal toiletries (all rooms at each lodge/camp have soap though some may not have shampoo)
Small medical kit including aspirin, antimalarial pills, cold and allergy medicine, cream for itches and rashes (i.e. Benadryl itch relief stick), band-aids, stomachache medicine (i.e. Pepto-Bismol), antibiotic ointment (i.e. Neosporin), multi-vitamins, diarrhea medicine (i.e. Imodium), prescription antibiotic effective against a broad range of bacteria including travelers diarrhea (i.e. Ciprofloxacin commonly known as Cipro) and any prescription medications.
Most internal Tanzania flights have a baggage restriction of 33 pounds per person not including camera equipment and shoulder bag within reason. Excess is charged at a modest additional fee if it can be accommodated on the flight. Flights in Uganda have even stricter weight requirements. Please refer to your separate Uganda guidelines, if applicable.
We recommend packing light as no formal clothes are needed and laundry services are available at most lodges and camps either free of charge or for a small fee ($2 - $3 per item). KLM and British Airways do occasionally lose or delay checked luggage. If your luggage is lost, it is likely that the airline will be able to deliver it to you while on safari within 72 hours. However, please be aware that there is a small risk that the airline will not be able to locate and deliver your luggage. It is recommended that your luggage consist of one carry-on 22-inch suitcase (normal carry-on size which fits in typical overhead bins) and one separate camera bag and/or shoulder bag per person. Alternatively, you may travel with all soft bag luggage.
Please read below an excerpt from KLM Airlines regarding carry-on luggage:
‘When luggage is carried on-board the aircraft, it must be of a size and shape to allow for storage in aircraft overhead compartments, or underneath the seat in front of the passenger. Each person is allowed to carry on-board the aircraft one piece of luggage. This piece of luggage must not exceed 45 linear inches (9 inches by 14 inches by 22 inches) and also must not exceed 40 pounds. In addition to this one piece of carry-on luggage, customers may also carry on-board a purse or briefcase or laptop computer. In addition, each passenger may carry a coat, umbrella, or other "special" items.’
Please keep all critical items and valuables in your carry-on shoulder bag or on you including passport, tickets, wallet, medications, toiletries, camera, glasses, etc. Never pack any camera equipment or film in your check in luggage. If you do decide to check in your luggage, please partially protect yourself from the consequences of the airline loosing your luggage by packing critical items as described above and also a change of clothes in a carry-on bag.
Please note that you may leave extra suitcases at our office in Arusha upon arrival and we can redeliver to your after your safari. This is particularly useful for those individuals combining their safari with vacations in Europe or other destinations where the clothing requirements and climates are different (especially in the winter). We can securely store all non-safari related items at our office. Some guests prefer packing two different suitcases with one to take on the safari and a second one for Europe or other destinations.
Note: This is applicable for Zanzibar only. If you are traveling to Zanzibar, please ensure that you dress modestly when not at the beach or at the beach resorts. When away from the beach and beach resorts, women should not wear sleeveless tops and short skirts (pants or at least knee-length shorts are fine). Men should wear shirts, pants or knee-length shorts. During Ramadan, take particular care with dress and show respect by not eating or drinking in the street or other public places. Ramadan dates are different every year. 2007 dates are September 12, 2007 to October 11, 2007. 2008 dates are September 2, 2008 to October 1, 2008.